Premier League

Wenger grounded on title chances

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger looks at Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew.
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Arsene Wenger has played down Arsenal's title chances despite reaching the halfway stage with his side top of the Premier League.

The Gunners reclaimed first place after a 1-0 victory at Newcastle which was secured by Olivier Giroud's lone strike.

However, while Wenger is intent on remaining there, he admits it is too early to start thinking about the big prize.

"We believe in ourselves and we are determined to give our best, absolutely, and to turn back on the season at the end and think we have given our best," said Wenger.

"I hope it will be enough, of course, but it's a long way to go. It's too early to say that."

Arsenal had to scrap their way back above Manchester City in the table by winning a hard-fought encounter at St James' Park.

Giroud proved to be the match-winner with a glancing 65th-minute header from Theo Walcott's free-kick after he briefly lost marker Mike Williamson.

Wenger was delighted with the resilience shown by his side, a trait he believes they have strengthened during the last calendar year.

He added: "We have come out of very difficult games - we have played Everton, we have played Manchester City, Chelsea, at West Ham and Newcastle.

"We have dropped some points, but I felt it was more down to the heavy schedule and the short recovery time we have had than to the difficulty of the games.

"But we have to show it on the pitch, and that's what we try to do."

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